Friday, October 12, 2018

School Scope: Trump and Kavanagh Takes Us Beyond the Tipping Point on Climate Change


Published in The WAVE October 12, 2018



School Scope: Trump and Kavanagh Takes Us Beyond the Tipping Point on Climate Change
By Norm Scott

My thesis in this column is that the election of Donald Trump and the control of all three branches of government by the Republican Party, the party of climate change deniers and the party of pro-business anything (even if the policies result in environmental disasters) is the “horse is out of the barn” moment when it comes to reversing the impact of climate change

The Guardian reported on October 8, 2018:  'Tipping points' could exacerbate climate crisis, scientists fear.  
The world is currently 1C warmer than preindustrial levels. Following devastating hurricanes in the US, record droughts in Cape Town and forest fires in the Arctic, the IPCC makes clear that climate change is already happening, upgraded its risk warning from previous reports, and warned that every fraction of additional warming would worsen the impact.... The world is currently 1C warmer than preindustrial levels. Following devastating hurricanes in the US, record droughts in Cape Town and forest fires in the Arctic, the IPCC makes clear that climate change is already happening, upgraded its risk warning from previous reports, and warned that every fraction of additional warming would worsen the impact.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report

The Republican Party is one of the tipping points and with the chaos massive flooding and other changes like the impact of the destruction of our food sources when farmland is turned into a dessert, will go down in history as major perpetrators. If there is a history, since the extreme outcome of a runaway greenhouse effect is turning the earth into a Venus-like atmosphere where no life can exist. Remember, Republicans before being captured by aliens who are scheming to take over the earth when we are gone, supported the idea of global warming due to human activity until about 30 years ago when climate change was weaponized politically.

The IPCC report says that we only have a little over a decade before it is too late. I laughed out loud over the idea that this train could be stopped, given that we are the biggest contributor to global warming. The major party in control of government mocks climate change. And even in the alternative Democratic Party, which accepts the climate change concept, there are internal squabbles over how pro-business to be. Remember, both major parties support a pretty loose system of capitalism and the driving force in capitalism is profit and growth, not concepts compatible with the ability to take on the massive worldwide attempts to control climate.

I've been reading a 10 year old book called Six Degrees (by Mark Lynas) making a bunch of predictions (including a scary Sandy storm 4 years before it took place) that have begun to come true since he wrote this in 2008 and the IPCC report issued last week did not surprise me at all. (Lynas talks about Cat 6 Hurricanes to come.)

Climate change deniers tell us climate has changed numerous times over millions of years but they miss the point of the speed with which climate has changed in the past. An ICE age doesn't just hit us one day but takes tens of thousands of years to take effect. And we may one day have another ICE age. The last one has been in the act of ending for about 12,000 years -- and the end of the ICE age coincided with the rise of civilization over 10 millennia, a very short time in the history of earth.

Under normal conditions, the glaciers might well melt anyway but would take thousands of years to do so and we would have time to adapt. But due to fossil fuels, we have compressed a thousand years into a century and now decades.

What deniers don't get is the feedback loop where carbon trapped in the oceans and in rocks and methane trapped in permafrost will be released due to even a rise of a degree or two, which will then further accelerate more carbon release. Just the shrinkage of the Brazilian rain forest, which has acted like a massive carbon sink removing CO2 from the atmosphere, is a tipping point.

The Paris climate accord, which Trump has withdrawn us from, was a somewhat feeble attempt to get this monster under control. An extreme pro-business anti-regulatory Supreme Court will guarantee that even if the Republicans lose power in 2020, the Court will put on brakes while even the Republicans as a minority will continue to obstruct.

Now excuse me, I’ve got to go catch that horse and hitch a ride to higher ground.

Norm will blog even while riding a horse at ednotesonline.com.


Addendum
Lynas takes us through the climate changes we have had over the millenia based on each degree rise in temperature C. from One to Six and the impact of higher temperatures on creating desserts, drought, mass extinctions in the ocean, massive losses of land due to rising oceans, etc. Lynas calls a 6 degree rise The Sixth Circle of Hell since there are few comparisons in the earth's history.

Now there are the climate change deniers who tell us climate has changed numerous times over millions of years but they miss the point of the speed with which climate has changed in the past. An ICE age doesn't just hit us one day but takes tens of thousands of years to take effect. And we may one day have another ICE age. The last one has been in the act of ending for about 12,000 years -- and the end of the ICE age coincided with the rise of civilization.

Under normal conditions, the glaciers might well melt anyway but would take a thousand years to do so and we would have time to adapt. But due to fossil fuels, we have compressed a thousand years into a century.


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